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Be Your Own DJ

April 6th, 2011 by Jeannine


I’ve always thought that DJ’s were unnecessary… maybe I just haven’t been impressed by the ones I’ve come across. Either way, we couldn’t justify the extra expense of $500+ in order to have someone play music for us. We looked into it and found that it was more economical to rent some speakers and have a friend play some tunes from a laptop. It was one of the best decisions we made.

You can rent speakers from any A/V rental place or a music store that offers rentals. We found Long and McQuade had better deals. We rented a portable standalone amped Bose speaker (right) for the outdoor ceremony and later it was brought inside to the dining room.  We also rented a pair of box speakers, stands, a mixer, disco lights for the dance room, and all the required cables. We were able to connect the laptop to both setups very easily. Just a couple reminders, doublecheck with your venue to see if there are power outlets nearby for your equipment, especially if your event is outdoors, and don’t forget to ask a friend or two to help set up and play “DJ” for the day. That’s kind of important ;)

If you are going through this route, another thing to remember is to pay the SOCAN fee which the venue should already be charging, but also you have to apply for a single event license thru AVLA (Audio Video Licensing Agency Inc). From their website:

“AVLA is a collective of the record labels and artists who own the copyright on
their sound recordings. Buying a licence for only $50.00 will allow you to make
copies of their copyrighted sound recordings for your event. This has no relation
to the SOCAN fees which are usually billed to you by the hall or venue.
What happens if you don’t bother? AVLA has inspectors regularly visiting
banquet halls and other liquor licensed establishments. Since illegal copying is a
violation of the copyright laws, they have the right on behalf of the record labels
to litigate for damages. Paying the $50.00 is a better route!”

So how did it go for us?

The results were better than what we expected. The Bose system carried the sound outdoors very well and is low profile enough to hide off to the side. The speaker set-up for the dance was great, the sound was booming and the lights moved to the music, it really livened up the party!

All the equipment cost us just over a $100! We thought we’d be paying more! Plus, we were in complete control of our playlists, which we really liked.

We played our MP3′s off iTunes. Turn on the 12 second crossfade setting so that gaps are more or less eliminated during playback. It’s also important to turn on the equalize setting so all the songs’ volumes will adjust on its own. You wouldn’t want one song playing softly and another song blaring! Last but not least, don’t put your complete trust in technology. Have a backup of your playlists and songs on a USB drive or CD somewhere in the venue.

It was fun being our own DJ. The best part was that the songs reflected our personalities, it made our wedding that much more special. If you are planning on going the same route and still have some questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it as best as I can :)

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  • May 3rd, 2011 at 2:54 pm
    daigoumee says:

    Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  • May 3rd, 2011 at 3:00 pm
    Jeannine says:

    You’re very welcome :) I’m glad it helped you out! Enjoy the rest of the site!

  • February 15th, 2012 at 9:48 pm
    Colin says:

    I am going to send you to an article about Wedding DJ’s in today’s metro.

  • February 18th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    Jordan says:

    This is only a good suggestion if music is not very important to you, or if you feel like you are not stressed out enough on your big day. There is a reason why not “everybody” is a DJ, although they may think they are. Hiring a professional DJ, has it’s upsides as does hiring any type of wedding professional, but it just comes down to how important it is to you. Everyone can take their own photos, cook their own food, and play their own music. It really comes down to your priorities

  • March 18th, 2015 at 9:59 pm
    Geoff says:

    Warning: Long and McQuade doesn’t let you book equipment, so if they run out on your big day, you’re out of luck!


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